This Week in Business and Brands: Spotify’s Sound Strategy, Organizations Optimization, and More


New Platform Playlists: Spotify Tops the R&D Charts

Talk about putting metrics behind the music: with Spotify’s latest ambition to become “the R&D department for the entire music industry,” the massive platform brand is certainly marching to its own beat. While vertical integration is often music to the ears of business strategists the world over, it’s also an intimidatingly high note to hit, especially for the traditional entertainment category. But it looks like a page straight out of the Netflix songbook: hiring data scientists, spending more on R&D than pharmaceutical companies (to the tune of $2.8 billion), and buying up in-category service providers like production studios and licensing startups. And as the crescendo of fervent fans rises closer to 100 million paying subscribers, it looks like CEO Daniel Ek’s vision of “building a two-sided marketplace for users and artists” is ready to turn the volume up yet another notch. Still, some are concerned: only time will tell whether the disruptive platform and the traditional labels can work together in perfect harmony…

Convenient or Creepy: Amazon’s Automotive Advance

In its latest move of questionably-invasive convenience, Amazon no longer has its eyes only inside of your home, but even behind the wheel: with an extension of its Key program, in-car deliveries are now ready to put the rubber to the road. Already partnering with the likes of GM and Volvo (who could certainly use a little extra gas in the tank), the new service will allow for packages to be left inside the vehicles of Prime customers comfortable with the extra (albeit intrusive) convenience. Unlike the home delivery option that utilizes live-streaming cameras in place as security measures, the in-car service doesn’t provide the opportunity for quite the same level of surveillance. But in our modern, on-demand world of expediency that’s transforming the trust in total strangers, perhaps it’s only the natural progression of the parameters of personal space. With more vehicle makes and models set to join the program, we’ll see whether the key itself becomes the next obsolete artifact left in the dust…

Talking Tactics, Tête-à-Tête: Top-Tier Talent

They say a company’s greatest resource is its people. So how can you make sure yours are giving their best – and getting it back in return? Take a tip from Adrianna Burrows, CMO of talent management system Cornerstone OnDemand:

  • On the advancement of AI: “As it starts infiltrating our workplaces, everyone will be impacted. As a business leader, it’s our responsibility to prepare teams for this massive shift. Whether providing more training or helping teams pivot to new career trajectories, proactive leadership and new skills training will be the keys to success.”
  • On efficient execution: “I’m a huge believer in regular, 30-minute 1:1 meetings with team leads. I get top-line updates and can help solve any issues. For larger meetings, I schedule them for 45 minutes instead of an hour to encourage productivity. I also ask whoever is leading for a three-bullet agenda to share with all attendees in advance.”
  • On never neglecting the North Star: “[I learned] early on in my career to do nothing on a project/campaign/plan until you can answer the most important question: ‘What business problem are they trying to solve?’ I pause and ask myself that to this day.”

Leadership Lessons: Absorb to Advance

For another applicable approach to fostering an outstanding organization, Vivaldi Board Member Paddy Miller provides an important insight behind innovation. It’s the absorptive capacity: that is, your company’s ability to acquire, assimilate, and transform. When it comes to incorporating new ideas, there’s all too often some trepidation in adopting the unknown that can prevent productive protocols from getting off the ground. And even when they are brought through to execution, staying the course is not always easy. So how can you keep your firm formidable? First, source both inside and out to build a team that’s competitively creative. Then, identify the true problem before rushing to a rash solution. Finally, anchor the ambition to the entire enterprise, aligning all with the experimental endeavor. In no time, you’ll be inhibiting the indigestion surrounding impactful innovation.

Tech & Tourism: People on a Pedestal

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with this exciting look at the way hi-tech holographs are heralding a new wave of tourism for the humble humanity of Brussels…


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